Kentucky– On our way northward to visit family, we spent a few, semi-winter, weeks in late March exploring Kentucky. While experiencing our first snowstorm of the year, we were wowed by the surrounding landscape, natural resources, and urban flair we encountered along the way. Here are a few things that stood out to us about Kentucky:
We learned a lot about the natural resources in Kentucky, and specifically about its spring water and limestone, both of which are huge sources of pride to Kentuckians. The well-known Mammoth Cave system in Kentucky is awe-inspiring, and a great way to get a closer appreciation of the vast limestone core of Kentucky. These caves are said to be the largest system in the world, and we have only started to scratch the surface on discovering its intricate network of tunnels.
According to many Kentuckians we met along the Bourbon Trail, the presence of the natural resources highlighted above combined to form the perfect limestone filtered water needed to make Kentucky Bourbon what it is, and what we have come to love. Even if you don’t think you are a bourbon fan, visiting the distilleries along the bourbon trail is a fun way to learn a little about the local geography, history, some chemistry, and a fun way to sample the local products and support local industries!
This one caught us completely off guard. As we were driving through Kentucky we drove past a massive, circular, yellow dome, which turned out to be a Corvette museum. Not knowing that such a thing even existed, I looked into it and discovered that Bowling Green, Kentucky is not just home to the National Corvette Museum, but is also the manufacturing home of corvettes. Another unknown fact I discovered in the process is that states have “official sports cars”, as we soon learned that Kentucky’s official “sports car” is the Corvette.
In the land of derby’s and oversized headwear, horses are a prime focus throughout the state. Neither of us knows anything about horse racing, but, we appreciate these majestic beauties and we thoroughly enjoyed driving through the Kentucky countryside filled with rolling green pastures that housed horses, as well as all the horse-related history we picked-up on throughout our travels.
While making Bardstown, KY our home base for bourbon explorations, we enjoyed slowing things down in this laid-back town and took full advantage of enjoying the local specialties. It was here that we received our introduction to two Kentucky dishes: 1) the Hot Brown, and 2) the Burgoo. Loving stews, I was excited to try the Burgoo, which, as it has been explained to me, began as a hearty way to serve-up whatever produce and meats were currently available. As I understand it, a proper Burgoo must contain at least 3 meats to meet Burgoo standards and an assortment of vegetables. A slightly spicy, oh so hearty, very tasty stew that leaves room for lots of improvising, inventiveness, and customization!
Cay went with the Hot Brown, which is an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon and a cream sauce with cheese called “Mornay Sauce”. It is broiled under the burner until bubbling and brown. A delicious, comforting, and filling dish, and one that fondly reminded us of a similar comfort favorite from Porto, Portugal called the “Francesinha”.
Time zone havoc
It came as a shock to us when we drove from one campground to another in the same state, and somehow, we managed to lose an hour. We later realized that about half the state falls on Central Time Zone and the other on Eastern, and as we drove amongst the time zones, it felt slightly arbitrary and non-descript. It did, however, mean that we could either gain or lose an hour, as if by magic, depending on where we happened to spend the day.